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The Gift of Music, Keswick House, Branthwaite Road, Workington, Cumbria, CA14 4ED, United Kingdom.
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The Gift of Music | CDs | Music for Christmas | Childhood Christmas
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CHRISTMAS EVE1 Twinkle, twinkle little star Sara Stowe* and Matthew Spring^2 Starlight Waltz 3 disc symphonium3 Sussex Carol Sara Stowe* and Matthew Spring*4 The Wren Boys Song Ian Giles and John Spiers5 We've been a while a wandering Sara Stowe* and Matthew Spring*6 Father Christmas (Schumann) Martin Souter7 Away in a manger Sara Stowe and Martin SouterCHRISTMAS DAY8 Past three o'clock Sara Stowe and Matthew Spring^9 See amid the winter's snow Ian Giles and John Spiers10 Dame get up and bake your pies Sara Stowe and Matthew Spring^11 The Holly and the Ivy Ian Giles and John Spiers12 Dance tune from Hansel & Gretel (Humperdinck) Regina disc player13 I saw three ships Sara Stowe and Matthew Spring^14 Gloucestershire Wassail Sara Stowe* and Matthew Spring*SNOW AND ICE15 Good king Wenceslas Ian Giles and John Spiers16 The Skaters Waltz (Waldteufel) Regina disc player17 Dance of the Melting Snowman Mark Baigent and Matthew Linley18 Footsteps in the Snow (Debussy) Martin Souter19 The north wind doth blow Sara Stowe and Matthew Spring, lute20 Who killed cock robin Sara Stowe and Matthew Spring, luteSNUG BY THE FIRESIDE21 By the Fireside (Schumann) Martin Souter22 The Music Box 3 disc symphonium23 Little Jack Horner Sara Stowe and Martin SouterSix Christmas Pieces Op 72 (Mendelssohn) Martin Souter24 Allegro non troppo25 Andante sostenuto26 Allegretto27 Andante con moto28 Allegro assai29 Vivace30 Here we come a wassailing Ian Giles and John SpiersSara Stowe voice, bells*Matthew Spring hurdy-gurdy*, cittern^ Ian Giles voiceJohn Spiers melodeonMartin Souter pianoMark Baigent didgeridooMatthew Linley bellsP & c 1999 Classical Communications LtdGift of Music logoChristmas carols, Christmas trees with presents around them - many of our favourite 'traditions' appear centuries old. The truth, however, is that many of these things can be traced back to the Victorians. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert were responsible for introducing many of our hallowed customs. This album celebrates Christmas from the perspective of a Victorian child. Traditional carols performed on unusual instruments add extra spice to the mix of music that could have been heard in many a Victorian drawing room or nursery or out and about in the streets where braziers of hot chestnuts could be found under the dim lamp light. Music boxes add further charm, playing favourite pieces of the day.Christmas EveOur programme begins on Christmas Eve when a star appeared in the sky and the shepherds were called to the manger. 'Twinkle, twinkle' performed here with charming, gentle bells - is every child's favourite. Musical box and traditional English country songs lead to the appearance of father Christmas, his sleigh pulled across the sky by the reindeer whose hooves can clearly be heard in the piano piece by Schumann (track 5). This section ends with the lovely Victorian carol, 'Away in a manger'.Christmas DayMore traditional English songs mix with a musical box and a Victorian carol. This group of pieces concern Christmas preparations - keeping track of the time (possibly to wake up early to open presents!), preparing food and drink, and a carol which tells the Christmas story. Goss's 'See amid the winter's snow' first appeared in 1871. Its simple charm remains evident to us today. Its performance here with melodeon gives it a folk-music style far removed from the sanctity of the church choir. 'The holly and the ivy' is one of the most beautiful and ancient of English carols.Snow and IceChristmas is traditionally associated with cold and snowy weather. Good King Wenceslas helps somebody worse off than himself, by offering support against the elements, and the sort of food and good cheer that we hear about in the 'Gloucestershire Wassail', perhaps. 'The Skaters Waltz' reminds us of a suave young man skating on the frozen village pond, trying to impress onlookers, particularly any pretty girls. The snowman is a familiar Christmas image, while we have all made footstep in the snow, and marvelled when a frost holds them in shape overnight. The north wind does indeed blow in the wintertime, and we all have memories of poor cock robin and the complicated arrangements his friends make for him in his absence.Snug by the FiresideAway from the weather, the warm hearth beckons us as we fling off our heavy outdoor clothes and settle down by the fire for a recital of Christmas music. Schumann's 'By the fireside' sets the mood, as does the musical box which follows. Little Jack Horner gets comfortable in the corner and we hear Mendelssohn's 'Christmas Pieces', sometimes also known as 'Children's Pieces'. The six short pieces are all variable in mood and remind us of anything from toy soldiers (track 24) to snow falling (track 29). Finally there is a knock at the door and the wassailers burst in, singing their Christmas song and no doubt looking for a warm drink or two before they go on their way.
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